Winter’s cold months often make people dream of warm retreats. But be careful what you wish for and do your research before you book a trip, because you may end up in a sizzling-hot environment. Deserts are not the only places where temperatures can reach dangerous, record-high levels.
Air temperatures are tricky to measure. A thermometer can absorb radiation from whatever is around it, which can falsely increase the number on the monitor. Even though some famous measurements have been found inaccurate, it doesn’t change the fact that the places where they were observed are among the hottest year-round.
It may be hard to imagine that certain places can record over 150 degrees Fahrenheit, since two-thirds of the planet is covered in water. But remember that one-third of the actual land is desert. Many of the Earth’s warmest places are located in or near such unforgiving, and often uninhabited, environments, with little soil moisture or vegetation. In the Lut desert, for example, there isn’t even a permanent weather station.
Last year was the hottest on record worldwide, according to NASA and NOAA. The world experienced record-breaking warming for the third year in a row. Data shows that the global average temperature for 2016 was 1.69°F above the 20th century average and 0.07°F above the previous record set in 2015.
While pointing at one specific location as the hottest on the planet is not realistic, many places measure consistently scorching temperatures that have been recorded for decades.